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Wednesday Pebble Report:

Colorado Springs: Is Jorge De Paula a solution to our bottom of the rotation struggles? After shutting down Memphis yesterday at Security Service Field, he's now 3-0 with a 0.56 ERA at Colorado Springs on the season. COLORADO SPRINGS. That's insanely good for that venue. Since Ubaldo Jimenez clearly isn't ready, and since the team will be hesitant to pull the trigger on Greg Reynolds, De Paula suddenly seems to be the best available option for the job. He's been slow bouncing back from a major arm surgery that kept him out most of the 2004 and 2005 seasons for the Yankees (who the Rockies had traded to for Craig Dingman way back when) but it certainly looks like he's fully recovered now. Josh Fogg should not rest easy.

Cory Sullivan, Clint Barmes, Joe Koshansky, Sean Barker, and Doug Bernier all had multi-hit games to fuel the Sox' offense. I should clarify something that I said Monday, while I think that Barker and Spilborghs are most ready for call-ups to the bigs, I do believe that Koshansky isn't far behind them, and a much better prospect.

In fact, here's how I'd rank the top 10 prospects in Colorado Springs:

  1. Ian Stewart
  2. Ubaldo Jimenez
  3. Joe Koshansky
  4. Spilborghs
  5. Seth Smith
  6. Edwin Bellorin
  7. Sean Barker (a little too old for "prospect" status, but still rookie eligible)
  8. Joshua Newman
  9. Jayson Nix
  10. Alberto Arias

I'm just going to cut and paste David Ohno's rundown from yesterday's thread since he was at the game:

Greg Reynolds looked solid, but not as good as the opening weekend starts I saw.  He sat around 90-91 mostof the game.  The two seam was very effective in getting groundballs and weak flares, as only one ball put in play was really struck well.  The control was great, but the command could have been better.  Reynolds' curve wasn't as crisp.  He had trouble keeping it in the strike zone tonight and couldn't get hitters to chase the pitch.  He seemed to get in a groove with the two seam and pitched with it almost exclusively to get economical outs.

This was the first time I got to see Wimberly as well.  He's certainly very short, but appears solidly built for his size.  Wimberly slaps at the ball at the plate, but was able to hit a few line drives in front of the outfielders.  The wind help up what could have been a homer to left, but it's clear from his swing and lower body actions on contact that power will not be a part of his game.  Explodes out of the box and from his lead on steals.  He laid down a very nice bunt and with his speed, would have beaten everyone to the bag if it had been fielded cleanly.  Defensively, Wimberly showed excelent range and made a fabulous diving stop and throw from the first base side.  He did, however, make an error on a chopper, and he doesn't appear to have very soft hands or natural fielding mechanics on balls hit directly at him.  Still, range makes him the perfect second base defender for a groundball pitcher like Reynolds.

Darren Clarke looked very impressive.  He repeated his delivery well, wasted little motion, and came over the top from his already long frame.  His fastball rested in the mid 90's, topping at 97.  The slider was around 86 with 11-5 tilt and broke sharply before reaching the plate.  He could throw it in the zone for called strikes, and off the plate for chase swings.  Fastball had some riding action as well, and looked much harder from his arm angle.  Very intimidating mound presence with a wonderful frame.  Hopefully he can keep the injuries away now, and he could be on the fast track to the pros.

Other quick notes:

-Herrera's arm appeared much stronger than I credited it earlier.  It's not in Tulowtizki's range, but it's above average and could carry him at the position in the majors.

-Czarniecki had a nice running catch in right, flashing good range.  Despite the speed, he still underwhelms me stealing bases.  He was thrown out attempting one and just seemed slow breaking from his lead.

-Guarno did throw out one runner, but his throws have too much tail and his accuracy was not sharp.

-Wind may have robbed Macri of a homer as well.  He swung the bat well and still has the quick swing and size to regain his prospect status.

My top 10 Driller prospects:

  1. Morales
  2. Reynolds
  3. Herrera
  4. Samuel Deduno
  5. Wimberly
  6. Ryan Mattheus
  7. Matt Miller
  8. Macri
  9. Ching Lung Lo
  10. Adam Bright
  11. Chris Frey

Okay, we have to pay some serious attention to Daniel Carte, Purple Row jinx or no. The one really bad thing with him is that awful 2/32 BB/K ratio. The one really good thing about him is that .219 ISO (isolated slugging percentage). And the one stat that holds the key to everything is his league leading .456 BABIP. With hitters, particularly in the minor leagues, a high batting average on balls in play could be either a sign of a fluke, or it could mean that the hitter is just that good compared to the league around him. With Carte, there's a lot which leads me to believe that this is mostly fluke, particularly the fact that he's striking out in over a quarter of his at bats and hardly ever taking a walk. His minor league history also suggests that this run is unsustainable. However, a BABIP that high can't be all fluke, and the power numbers back up that he's putting some serious wood on the ball. What's more, even though his minor league history hasn't had a stretch like this, he did put up a similar run in the Cape Cod league a year before he was drafted, which led his stock to rise as much as it did. So in short, he's definitely having a break out season at the plate, but it's still missing a couple of key elements that prevent him from vaulting back into our elite prospect ranks. Yesterday Carte homered and doubled and drove in four runs in the Modesto win.

A brief note about Brandon Durden: Last night's game was a rematch of this April 19 contest which San Jose won 9-7. Durden was awful then, allowing nine hits in five innings, walking two and unleashing two wild pitches. Antoan Richardson, Mike Mooney and Pablo Sandoval each had two of those hits off him. Yesterday they had two hits combined, both in the first inning, which were the only two hits Durden would allow in eight innings. This is certainly a sign of progress.

My current top 10 Modesto prospects:

  1. Dexter Fowler
  2. Brandon Hynick
  3. Chaz Roe
  4. Chris Nelson (nothing against Nelson, who I really like, this is just a very strong top four)
  5. Pedro Strop
  6. Xavier Cedeno
  7. Eric Young
  8. Alan Johnson
  9. Andrew Johnston
  10. Durden, for now.
Asheville: I've been giving you some good news about names in the system, now a big caution flag for one name that's been doing about as well as anybody in the early going. Michael Paulk had two more hits yesterday, but I'm just not convinced it will carry much further up the system ladder, even though I'm also convinced that he needs to be given a chance to find out. Like Carte, he has a pretty high BABIP, but unlike Carte, the power numbers suggest he's not hitting the ball as solidly as he could to continue at this pace. His ISO is at .152, which would be decent if he didn't play at such a hitter friendly park half the time and if he wasn't a year or two older than league average. He hits homeruns on 1.6% of his fly balls, which is also very low, particularly for a corner infielder. Compare the isolated power number to Logan Wiens' .281 and you can start to get a sense of what I'm talking about. Wiens homered and doubled yesterday and drove in three to help lead Asheville to yet another victory as they try to cement a hold on first place.

Okay, onto the Asheville top 10:

  1. Hector Gomez
  2. Daniel Mayora
  3. Keith Weiser
  4. Josh Sullivan
  5. Aneury Rodriguez
  6. Logan Wiens
  7. Michael McKenry
  8. Geoff Strickland
  9. Craig Baker
  10. Tommy Baumgardner
That list gets pretty diffcult at the end to make judgement calls among several people who could or maybe should be in there. I'm not entirely set on that list just yet.

[editor's note, by Rox Girl]

I've got to give a lot of kudos to the revamped First Inning website for a lot of the stats I used in today's rundown. It's a solid reference for minor league stuff that's hard to find elsewhere, so I highly recommend checking it out.